Skip to content

Kleidograph

1894

New York Point Writer
designed by William B. Wait
New York Institute for the Blind

Kleidograph

William Bell Wait, superintendent of the New York Institution for the Blind, devised a dot system which he claimed was quicker to read and write, and took less space than braille. Cells were two dots high and from one to four dots long; signs for common letters used fewer dots; unused dot space was closed up between cells.

Wait designed a mechanical writer to write in his system and called it the Kleidograph (key writer). There are twelve embossing keys and a space bar. The top two rows of keys correspond to the eight points in the cell. The bottom row of keys are compound keys, and each key when depressed carries with it the two directly above it. Wait’s ingenious design allowed the Kleidograph to be operated with one hand. This freed the other hand for reading. The two keys at the lower left side are for capitals and produce a larger point.

The metal body is painted dark red and keys are metal. The inscription reads "Kleidograph, N. Y. Institution for the Blind, patented November 1894."

Size: 17½ x 6¼ x 10¼ inches

Weight: fifteen pounds

Index of Mechanical Braille Writers for Embossed Characters